SUNY New Paltz Men Earn 70-53 Win Over Fredonia

By Monica D’Ippolito

NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz collected another regular season series sweep Saturday in the Hawk Center after earning a 70-53 victory over visiting Fredonia State to improve to 15-3 overall and 9-2 in the SUNYAC.

“It’s a great feeling to come out on top. A season sweep is a great thing,” said Hawks junior guard A.J. Knight. “The crowd being back is a great feeling also and getting two wins against the same team in the SUNYAC is a big deal, all the wins count.”

The first half was tightly contested between the two teams, seeing eight different lead changes with the score tied seven times, including at 27-all with three minutes left in the first half. Lucas Seyoum helped knot the score once more after garnering a steal off the Blue Devils’ Alon Haimovitz and was rewarded with a dish from Alex Krupinski in the paint for the equalizing two points.

Dakoda Smith pushed SUNY New Paltz ahead two possessions later off a feed by Knight, earning the bucket and the foul with the Hawks never trailing after that point.

SUNY New Paltz dominated the second half to propel itself to the win. An 8-0 run started by Knight helped the Hawks to an 11-point lead five minutes in, and they kept the Blue Devils at arm’s length the rest of the way.

Fredonia brought the difference down to single digits three times down the stretch, but SUNY New Paltz answered each time on the other end to re-establish a comfortable margin.

After Derek Reed hit on a jumper in the paint midway through the period, the Hawks countered with a 10-4 run with Kobe Bogart bringing the lead to 15 on a make in the paint with six minutes to go. Smith then gave the hosts their largest lead of the day finishing on a one-handed slam in transition off a steal by Sean St. Lucia to put the finishing touches on the win.

SUNY New Paltz’s defense helped facilitate an efficient offensive performance, as it scored 26 points off 29 Blue Devils turnovers, while totaling 15 steals and scoring 42 of its 70 points in the paint.

“Our defense definitely propelled our offense,” Knight said. “I think that’s where we get most of our points is from our defense. Sometimes our offense isn’t clicking as much, but when we play defense that opens up our offense for sure.”

Knight led all scorers with 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting in 32 minutes, while adding one rebound, one steal and a team-high six assists. Krupinski followed with 14 points off the bench, shooting an efficient 6-for12 with four rebounds, an assist and a steal. Smith rounded out SUNY New Paltz’s top scorers, finishing with 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

The Hawks return to action Tuesday against No. 6 SUNY Oswego. The Lakers sit in first place in the SUNYAC at 11-0 in the conference and 17-1 overall with SUNY New Paltz behind them, their only conference defeat to Oswego, which came on Jan. 16 in the Hawk Center.

“Team — that’s the thing that is going to get us over the hump is team,” Knight added. “That’s what I think we’re doing the best now is we’re coming together as a team, we’re playing together and I believe that is what is going to get us over the hump.”

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